Below, Rick Hertzberg on the voter fraud fraud. There is, of course, no real substantiative evidence that this problem has been endemic. The issue has been revived by the Republican camp, obviously, to fire up the base and increase turnout. But the consequences of doing so to real governance are immense. Consider that many of the firings of the nine U.S. attorneys was due to the voting fraud canard. And that voting is suppressed– that of minorities, the poor, the disabled, and other of our most vulnerable citizens, because of the voting fraud fraud.
Consider this statement by Sarah Palin: “We will not stand for the stealing of the election—the tainting of our democracy—by those who wish to subvert the rule of law.” What is being subverted is not the law, but the truth.
The idea that Democrats try to win elections by arranging for hordes of nonexistent people with improbable names to vote for them has long been a favorite theme of Rove-era Republicans. Now it’s become a desperate obsession.
Consider today’s fund-raising e-mail from Robert M. (Mike) Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee. Some snippets:
Every election, it’s the same old song and dance from the Democrats and their liberal allies when it comes to donor and vote fraud.
They will soon be trying to pad their totals at ballot boxes across the country with votes from voters that do not exist. From Ohio and Florida to Wisconsin and Nevada, there are reports of fraudulent voter registration forms being submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a liberal group that is dedicating its resources to electing the Obama-Biden Democrats.
The e-mail climaxes with this pledge, which one hopes is delivered with a Sarah Palin wink: “We will not stand for the stealing of the election—the tainting of our democracy—by those who wish to subvert the rule of law.”
ACORN has become the 24/7 story on Fox News, too, on account of reports that it has submitted several thousand phony registration forms to local boards of elections. These reports appear to be true. Nevertheless, the “scandal,” as Fox calls it, is itself on its face as phony as Mickey Mouse’s social security number.
During this election cycle, the Times reported today, ACORN has deployed thirteen thousand mostly paid workers, who have registered 1.3 million new voters. One or two per cent of these workers turned in sheaves of forms that they filled out themselves with fake names and bogus addresses, and, even though at least a hundred of these workers have already been fired, the forged forms have been submitted to election boards.
Sounds suspicious—unless you know that groups like ACORN are required by law to submit them, even if they’re obvious fakes. This is to prevent funny business, such as trashing forms that look like they might be Republican (or Democratic, as the case may be).
Sounds suspicious—unless you know that ACORN normally sorts through forms, flags those that look fishy, and submits the fishy ones in a separate pile for the convenience of election officials.
Sounds suspicious—until you reflect that the motivation of the misbehaving registration workers is almost always to look like they’ve been doing more work than they really have, and that the victim of the “fraud” is actually the organization they’re working for.
Sounds suspicious—unless you know that even if one of these fake forms results in a nonexistent person actually being registered, now under the Help America Vote Act of 2002, “any voter who has not previously voted in a federal election” must provide identification in order to actually cast a ballot. This will make it tough for Mickey Mouse, even if registered, to vote, no matter how big, round, or black his ears. Likewise, members of the Duck family (Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie) who turn up at the polling place will have a hard time getting into the voting booth. (Uncle Scrooge might be able to bribe his way in, but he’s voting Republican anyway.)
Sounds suspicious—unless you know that despite all the hysteria, from 2002 to 2005, only twenty people in the entire United States of America were found guilty of voting while ineligible and only five of voting more than once. By contrast, consider the lede on this story, published a week ago today:
Tens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law, according to a review of state records and Social Security data by The New York Times.
And take it from Sarah Palin: the Times is “hardly ever wrong.”
Factcheck.org has this out as well saying that the McCain camp has bee exaggerating voter fraud allegations.